Designers on your doorstep
This chair is for the renting generation. 32% of Australians rent their home. Putting about a third of us in a residential transience of a semi-nomadic living. When we move, how do we take our domesticity with us? Some of it is cheap, lives fast, dies early, and then becomes waste. Longer living, solid furniture can be cumbersome and sluggish to move.
The オ (pronounced ‘o’ like in ‘origami’) Chair responds to this very specific requirement of fine furniture with built in transience - it is designed without screws or fixings or a reliance on adhesives, and, with a few taps on the wedge joints, can be dismantled and packed down to move as we do. From its conception, the chair realises its fate. As elements of the chair degrade over its lifespan, they can be independently replaced, rather than an entire piece of furniture going to landfill. Afterwards, individual parts can be re-ordered, retrofitted, and amended onto the chair. The design relies on the density of the Blackbutt eucalyptus timber, grown in Australia, for its strength and cantilever, and seeks to represent timbers from home rather than overseas. The name オ (‘o’) is derived from the joinery in the project having its conceptual ancestry in japanese timber crafts, and is (hopefully) the noise made when one first rests into the seat.
IMAGE > Damien Cresp, オ Chair, 2021, blackbutt (eucalyptus pilularis), 60 x 66 x 100 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
Not for sale
Spending so much time at home in a rental, with people coming in and out, has really emphasised the transient nature of living arrangements that this sort of tenancy allows. I think that’s reflected in a lot of the things I’ve made during this time. Everything seems to be having similar motifs of flatpack-ability, or needs to be changeable or otherwise multi-use in some way.
I haven’t had access to tools at home during lockdown, so I miss making stuff with my hands and experimenting with materials and all that. On top of that, the space where I was making stuff - at uni - was always filled with people you’d be able to bounce ideas off of who'd be a wealth of precedent for whatever you were working on. We’re lucky that these days we’re able to get so much inspiration from the gram, but it’s not the same.
I’m lucky enough to live in close proximity to quite a few new constructions and renovations of houses designed by some renowned Melbourne architects. At the moment I’m enjoying picking apart the details of the Merri Creek house by Wowowa, and the Liverpool House by Kennedy Nolan.
At the moment my bedroom is where most of my design work is done, and my favourite aspect of it is the large east-facing windows that look out onto springtime greenery. I’ve tried to make it into a little bit of a haven during covid by making some furniture for it (the desk, the shelves) and by having an insatiable thirst for more plants inside and out.
I’m afraid of tooting the ol’ horn a bit too much, but I’m pretty chuffed with the shelves I’ve put together from Tassie Oak and plywood. This year I’ve been strangely fascinated by the capacity that a set of shelves has to tell a story about a person and what they keep on them.
Like the chair, this one holds itself together without the requirement of screws or glue, and similarly will be dismantled and reassembled when I move onto another place.
The go-to dish at the moment is the classic self-saucing pudd. Incredibly homely, and reminds me of what mum would make when I was growing up, and it’s an absolute cracker for the housemates.
The recipe is here, I think it’s based off an old Country Women’s Association method:
Mix the dry ingredients together. Add milk, melted butter and vanilla essence. Sprinkle sugar and coca over this mixture then pour boiling water over.
Cooking time: 40mins at 180ºC
Pull out of the oven when it’s still jiggling a little bit, serve with ice cream.